Mrsa, Mothers, Math, and Morphine

     There was a time back in ’01 and ’02 that hospital acquired MRSA was a struggle for my life.  I was recovering from a colostomy reversal and  for a while at least it seemed my post-op was fairly typical.  About 3 to 4 weeks into my recovery  I started getting cellulitis.  As long as I was in the hospital on IV antibiotics it seemed to hold the infection at bay.  Whenever I went home and was off the IV antibiotics, the infection would come back with a vengance.  Consequently, that year I was in and out of the hospital, there must have been at least 2 dozen admissions.

     That particular hospital was right across the street from my daughter’s school and I think she was in 4th or 5th grade at the time.  The hospital would be sure to put me in a 2 person room that was empty and if I was in the hospital, that’s where Sarah would go after school.  She would hang with me,  they would send up a meal tray for her and let her spend the night with me.  It was a great thing the hospital did for me and my daughter.  I remember one time she heard another elderly patient crying and my daughter asked my nurse about him.  The nurse told her that he was here from the nursing home and he was scared about being in an unfamilier environment.  Sarah picked up her paper and pencils and went across the hall to go visit with him.  She drew pictures for him while telling him that the people there were going to help him and that everything was going to be all right.  She said she was right across the hall if he needed anything, and you could hear him calm down.

     She came back across the hall and asked me if I could help her with her math homework.  I said I’d be more than happy to.  I remember going over each math question so carefully and taking so much time with each one to make sure she was on the right track.  I also remember the next day she came over and told me she got an “F.”  Well, damn.  To this day I believe a few things:  My daughter really touches my heart with her compassion and kindness, my math skills are far behind what is required these days, I can add, subtract, multiply and do long division, but in the end I blame it on the morphine.


The Rest of the Story

hospital staff member clothed in protective cl...

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     I got to the hospital in Indy at around  7am.  I managed to get there just in time for shift change, so by the time a doctor made rounds and got me on some pain meds it was around noon.  Mental note:  Never get to a hospital during shift change.  I was not a happy camper at that point and I’m sure I made my feelings known.  The hospital I started out in did blood cultures before I left.

     The next morning when Dr. Whomever came in he said I needed to be transferred to ICU immediately as in yesterday.  Ironically the first thing they did to prep me for ICU was put in a foley per their protocol.  It seems I had a life threatening infection in my bloodstream, go figure.  I had a yeast infection in my bloodstream called fungemia.  How fun!  If it’s rare or unusual apparently I’m going to get it.  I didn’t understand how serious it was at that moment.  I’m a girl and a diabetic therefore no stranger to yeast infections.  All I’m thinking is give me some diflucan and I’ll be on my way home.  It was after all, the week before Thanksgiving where I was planning to cook an elegant dinner for my family and friends.

     I hate being in a hospital so far from home.  It’s hard for my family to visit and I get lonely.  Once I got into a regular room my best friend decided to come see me and stay for the duration, very cool because she brought my laptop.  Most hospitals now have internet access for patients.  I was getting very frustrated and told the doctors I wanted to go home on Sunday and on Sunday I was prepared to leave AMA (against medical advice)  Something happened that never happened before.  Not one but two Infectious Disease doctors sat on my girlfriends roll away bed and very bluntly told me that if I left I would probably die.  I was in tears at that point I wanted to go home so badly.  Instead I told them I needed to talk to my husband before I made any decision, totally ruining my plan to not mention the AMA part and just tell him I was discharged.  It was a bad plan anyway, I can never get away with lying to him.  He always knows.

     The dear man told me he would rather miss having me home for one holiday and have me alive for all the other ones and to please stay in the hospital, also I forgot to mention the doctors had me scheduled for surgery in the morning.  I had to have my port removed as they believed that was the source of the infection.  I’ve had my port for 2 and half years and I loved it.  My veins are so scarred from IV’s that it’s very difficult to get vein access and it saved me from countless central lines.  In fact it took the anesthesiologist 4 sticks to get a vein to remove the port.  I also decided since I have my laptop to google this new oddly named infection.  Turns out that it has a 40 to 70% mortality rate.  Okay then, you convinced me to stay.   Now I don’t know whether to get it replaced or not.  It would be great to think maybe I don’t need another one I just don’t know how realistic that is.  On the other hand this one almost killed me.  I’m open to suggestions.

     The end of the story is that I did get home 2 days before Thanksgiving and I owe a big thank you to my sister who with the kids did all the cooking and cleaning for day and I didn’t have to lift a finger, so I still consider myself a pretty lucky girl.  I did land myself back in ICU one time since then, but that’s for another post, another story.  Thanks for listening to me I know this was a long one.  Since I started blogging this is the best way for me to vent.

Do You Ever Get A Funny Feeling?

     After 30 some hospital admissions in the past 3 years, you start to know what your body feels like when it’s starting to crash.  I had that feeling all day Monday.  I just didn’t feel right.

     I didn’t know whether to tell Rudy or not, on the one hand why stress him sooner that he has to be.  On the other hand, I don’t hide it very well from him either, he can see it in my face that I’m on a downward slope.

     By the time Tuesday rolled around I was feeling very weak.  I knew I had some paperwork that had to get done, so I called my friend and neighbor down to help me.  We got that done, and I had to run to town to take care of some errands.  It was hot and we had the top down on the car and by the time I got back home I was in really bad shape.  I was very weak, very tired, and felt like my head was in another planet.  Rudy and I talked about how I was feeling and knew I had to go to the hospital. 

     I love the ER docs and nurses at the hospital I go to.  They know me and know how sick I get and get me in right away.  Fluids, pain and anit-nausea meds were started while we waited on lab work.  After the doctor did an arterial blood gas, which is my least favorite way of having blood drawn, he told me he thought he knew what happened.  I was in severe dehydration which was making my body acidic, a very dangerous state as a diabetic.  I also had a massive urinary tract infection.  He also thought that if he admitted me and threw antibiotics at it, that he would be able to get me well enough to go home on oral antibiotics after a day.

     What do you know? By 2pm they had me off the IV pain meds and on oral, by 6 this evening I was feeling so much better.  The doctor also makes rounds after his office hours, so when I saw him check on my roommate, I let him know I was ready to go home.  He said he’d have to check my ketones and he would let me know.  I fell asleep and the next thing I know a nurse is waking me up telling me she is here to pull my port line because I’ve been discharged!

     It was the quickest, most efficient hospital stay I’ve ever had.   I’ve accepted that I’m going to spend my life constantly having to be in the hospital.  I made up my mind I’m going to have as much fun as possible between trips.